President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja lamented that human lives have increasingly become cheap in Nigeria, saying desperate politicians are pushing the country towards instability and chaos because they think it will give them an advantage in the forthcoming 2019 elections.
In a statement, Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said Buhari made the statement while reacting to recent clashes in Plateau State which left scores dead.
The president was quoted thus: “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes. But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.
“Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.”
The statement said information available to the Presidency showed that about 100 cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, leading to the killings of some herdsmen.
It said the state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents was looking into the matter but less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.
The statement added: “Some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.
“There were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.
“On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress (APC) Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by these thugs. There were also a number of dead bodies thugs had killed, lying along the road.”